Myrtle Beach, S.C. – The South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation (SCFB) opened its 74th Annual Meeting in Myrtle Beach Dec. 1, highlighted by a number of awards and a State of Farm Bureau address from SCFB President Harry Ott.
Nearly 1,000 Farm Bureau members from across the state gathered not just to prepare for the year ahead, but also to celebrate accomplishments of volunteers and progress made in the General Assembly. More than 100 individuals were recognized for their dedication to SCFB at this year’s convention.
South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers greeted attendees Thursday night at the Government Relations awards dinner. He spoke on the importance of farmers and agriculture in our state. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duval, a Georgia farmer, updated members on Friday morning about issues Farm Bureau will face in 2018. Glen Ward, an inspirational speaker and professional, delivered the opening session keynote address Friday morning.
South Carolina legislators Representative Bill Hixon (R-Aiken) and Senator Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) received 2017 SCFB Legislator of the Year awards for going above and beyond in their duties to support family farmers in South Carolina through key legislation. Both legislators have been dependable supporters of Farm Bureau, leading the way for agriculture, agribusiness and family farmers at the statehouse.
Five individuals were named the 2017 Government Relations All-Stars for their progressive advocacy of SCFB’s priority issues in the General Assembly. They were Bert Judy (Dorchester), Matt Sims (Greenville), George Bryant (Pickens), Charlie Whiten (Oconee) and Billy Abercrombie (Laurens). Each received a clock representing the time they dedicated to the work of Farm Bureau.
Glen and Marilyn Easter (Laurens) received SCFB’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, as the highlight of the Awards and Recognition Program Dec. 1. The Easters have given greatly to SCFB through their countless hours of dedication and selfless volunteerism to agriculture in South Carolina. The Easters are leaders in the dairy industry and have contributed to agriculture in their hometown, state, nation and even internationally.
Case Chumley (Spartanburg) took home an EZ-Go Golf Cart, $500 in STIHL merchandise and $250 cash after winning the SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet. Chumley competed against nine other contestants in a face-to-face discussion about agricultural issues today’s farmers are facing.
Two farm families – Whitney and Lynne Farr (Spartanburg) and Davis Peeler (Anderson) – were named finalists in the 2018 SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award Contest. As finalists, each farm family received a check for $1,000 compliments of the Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company. They also have the opportunity to win a new Ford truck.
Finalists for the SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher Excellence in Agriculture Award were also announced. They are Zack Snipes (Charleston), Case and Taryn Chumley (Spartanburg) and Jesse and Tracy Miskelly (York). The finalists will be competing for the opportunity to win $500 and a Polaris ATV.
The contest winner for both the Achievement Award and the Excellence in Agriculture Award will be announced in January at the 2018 SCFB Young Farmer & Rancher Conference in Greenville. State winners also have the opportunity travel to the 2019 American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in New Orleans to compete nationally against other state contest winners. The SCFB Young Farmer and Rancher awards are made possible through generous donations from SCFB, Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company, Polaris dealers, STIHL, Garrett’s Golf Cars and Specialty Vehicles and Ford.
Each year, one South Carolina educator receives the Betty J. DeWitt Outstanding Educator Award. This year Ashley Bennett, a teacher at Woodruff Middle School in Spartanburg County, received the award plus $500. The award is presented to a teacher of grades K-12 who has designed and implemented a lesson plan about the food and fiber industry.
Devin Moore (Lexington) and Katie Martin (Anderson) were named the winners of the 2018 SCFB Youth Ambassador Scholarship Contest. Each received $150 in cash and a college scholarship in the amount of $2,000.
The annual meeting came to a close after the business meeting of the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, where two individuals were re-elected to positions on the organization’s Executive Committee, including SCFB Coastal District vice president Landy Weathers (Orangeburg) and SCFB Pee Dee District vice president Ray Galloway (Darlington). Harry Ott was also re-elected as SCFB president.
South Carolina Farm Bureau is a grassroots, non-profit organization celebrating and supporting family farmers, locally grown food, and our rural lands through legislative advocacy, education, and community outreach. By connecting farmers to the larger community, Farm Bureau cultivates understanding about agriculture’s importance to South Carolina’s local economies. To learn more, log on to scfb.org.